Kentuckiana teens anxious about competitive summer job market

Gustavo Lopez
Gustavo Lopez

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Thousands of Kentuckiana students are graduating high school this week. Many of those new grads are ready to get to work, but will they be able to find jobs? That's why we are working for you to find where they can look.

According to Michael Gritton, executive director of Kentuckiana Works, the job market for today's high school graduates and teenagers is much tougher than it was 10 years ago because there is more competition.

On Graduation Day, there's no feeling quite like walking across that stage and officially completing high school.

"I'm excited!" One Western High School graduate told WAVE 3.

For many, like 18 year-old Kelsey Montgomery, their attention is turning towards finding that summer job

"I am nervous," Montgomery said. "I've been nervous a lot about jobs lately because it's hard to find one. And people are not really hiring a lot."

Montgomery says she has applied to at least 10 different places.

"...and nobody's called back or anything. I called, but nobody's called back," Montgomery lamented. "I don't want to give up, but sometimes I'll be like 'Ugh...I'm never gonna get a job.' It's hard for me to find a job"

Montgomery isn't alone. Eighteen-year-old Western High School graduate Gustavo Lopez says he will be looking for a summer job very soon.

"I'm actually worried about that," said Lopez, "because I'm not sure I'm going to find the perfect job."

Lopez says he hopes he'll have an edge over the competition in the job market.

"I speak two languages," Lopez said. "I'm trying to find where I can be a translator or something and also with art."

Gritton says 25% of area teens are unemployed. That means one in four who are looking for a job can't find one.

According to Gritton, in 2000 the national employment rate among teens was 45%. In 2010, just 26% of American teens were working. But Gritton says this summer the job market is even more challenging. because unemployed adults are competing with teens for those jobs.

Terrance Macklin is an 18-year-old Western High School graduate. He says he's ready for the competitive job market.

"I mean, with the competition out there, it might be hard, it might not." Macklin said "With the economy, you never know what you're going to get until you try. I could put a job application in for Ford. I don't know if I'm going to get it until I try."

Kentuckiana Works says those looking for work should network with friends, family, or past co-workers. Also, attend job fairs and maximize an interview.

Many students say it may not be easy, but they're determined to find that summer job

"I'm not going to give up though. So, I'm going to keep on looking for a job until I get one." Montgomery said.

If you're looking for work, we're working for you. Listed below are links to resources about finding a job.

410 West Chestnut Street, Suite 200
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Ph: (502) 574-2500
Fax: (502) 574-4288

To find the nearest One-Stop Career Center, call toll-free 1-877-639-7559, or click here.

Indiana WorkOne Region 10 (Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Scott and Washington counties)

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